Jacob Eason has already displayed the clutch gene three times this season.
The latest showcase came this past Saturday in a 27-24 win over Kentucky. With 2:47 remaining in the fourth quarter and the game tied up, Eason spoke to his team in the huddle as calm as he’s previously been in similar moments.
And it seemed like Eason’s passes became a bit sharper and a bit more accurate. His first was a quick completion to Isaac Nauta for 2 yards. Then he hit Javon Wims for 12. After a 3-yard run from Nick Chubb, Eason found Wims again for 12.
He followed that up with a completion to Terry Godwin, who spun down the field for a 16-yard gain. With Georgia in Kentucky’s territory, the Bulldogs turned to Sony Michel to run the ball closer for the eventual game-winning field goal.
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"I think he gets in more of a rhythm given the situation," Wims said.
Eason first led Georgia to a fourth-quarter victory with less than two minutes remaining against Missouri in week three. After hitting two completions, Eason missed two before a pass interference penalty moved the Bulldogs to the Missouri 20-yard line.
While Eason missed his next three passes, Eason found receiver Isaiah McKenzie for a game-winning score on a fourth-and-10 pass.
Against Tennessee, Eason, much like his recent game against Kentucky, went 4-of-4 passing on his last drive. He put the Bulldogs ahead with a 47-yard deep ball to Riley Ridley, which appeared to give Georgia a win. But Tennessee would wind up completing a desperation pass with no time left to negate Eason’s heroics.
On drives that have ended with go-ahead scores with less than two minutes to go in games, Eason is 11-of-16 passing for 171 yards.
"He does not feel pressure," head coach Kirby Smart said. "That’s just the kid. The kid’s got a very calm demeanor. It’s what you want the quarterback to have, composure-wise. I mean he really doesn’t get much flustered."
Georgia practices the two-minute drill just about daily in practice, which has given Eason ample opportunity to simulate those kinds of scenarios.
Running back Nick Chubb said now that he’s done it multiple times, the Bulldogs are comfortable with him leading the offense when a game is tight late.
"It’s kind of crazy because whenever we get in that situation we all say we’re going to win the game," Chubb said. "In practice we do the same thing."
Eason, of course, has experienced his share of lows with the highs.
Eason was pulled at the end of the Nicholls State game, his first career start, in favor of Greyson Lambert. His first true road test at Mississippi did not go well. But Eason had a good game against Vanderbilt, which included a potential game-winning drive late.
After going 4-of-9 throwing for 49 yards on Georgia’s final offensive series, the Bulldogs elected to run a toss play to Isaiah McKenzie that was stuffed. The pass prior to that play, however, was down the field and in the vicinity of receiver Michael Chigbu, who was unable to haul it in. So a case could be made that Eason was just as clutch against Vanderbilt.
Eason’s already showed flashes of being a clutch quarterback in the SEC. But like any young quarterback, Smart said there’s still growth needed to be made.
"He's got a long way to go," Smart said. "He's got to improve. He's got to improve communication, decision making and that's the parts that we continue to grow in that area. But I certainly think these opportunities at the end of the game give him a chance to show leadership and gain the confidence of the other players."